FISH AND NUTRITION
Through the years, fish has always been an important part of human nutrition. Today it is considered an important source of vital proteins and vitamins that have high nutritional value, and forms an integral part of a healthy diet. The widespread recognition of these properties, the internationalisation of consumer trends and the strong globalisation of the food market have all contributed to the ever increasing demand for marine products.
Together with the elective demand for fishery products, there is still an imperative need to find food to cover the constantly increasing dietary needs of the growing global population. In the light of the overexploitation and/or depletion of the natural and organic resources on our planet, it is certain that the solution for covering the need for fishery products for human consumption is more likely to be found in the increase in production than in the restriction of needs to the production capacity of commercial fishing.
Acknowledging that in recent years the returns of commercial fishing are constantly diminishing, while the recent increase in the purchasing power of consumers in many countries, as well as the strengthening of the tendency towards healthy eating have all significantly increased the demand for fishery products on a global level, it is clear that this gap that is being formed in the markets is expected to be filled by aquaculture.
According to the official statistics of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, in the period from 2000 to 2005 the global apparent per capita consumption of fishery products rose from 16 kg to 16.6 kg, which is the highest on record. This increase in consumption over the above period was based entirely on the sale of aquaculture products, which presented a total increase of about 35%, while production from commercial fishing in the same period dropped by almost 2.
As is clear, the production of fishery products has strengthened the need to create facilities to package these products in order to ensure adherence to the terms and conditions for the safe distribution thereof, while at the same time taking action to process raw materials for the purpose of creating products that can last for some time after fishing in order to be consumed (freezing, canning, smoking, salting, etc.).